Nov 062012
 

Public News skribent Julia Marin Hellewge gjorde (4/11) en helt riktig analys av varför Mitt Romney kunde förlora valet då hon skrev om minoriteternas betydelse för valutgången. /PN

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Republicans are missing opportunities to connect with Hispanics and Blacks for the upcoming election, potentially giving Obama the opening for the win. But if the Democrats can’t get their people to the polls, Romney may be the 45th president of the U.S.

 

Analys av Julia Marin Hellewge

 

Blacks have been identifying with the Democratic Party since the presidencies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson. Before this time blacks tended to identify much more with the Republican Party, not surprisingly given Republican President Lincoln’s liberation of black slaves. But for a long time there was very limited mobilization of the minority since most were effectively disallowed to vote before the Voting Rights Act of 1964. It was the Democrats who realized that they could mobilize poor African Americans by focusing more heavily on economic issues such as welfare programs and minimum wage laws. In recent elections blacks have voted for Democrats in record numbers, often topping 90 percent which I would suggest is largely because of Democrats’ mobilization efforts and not because blacks agree narrowly with the democratic platform.

Latinos

Hispanics (Latinos), in general, do not have the same long historical ties to the political parties as African Americans do. Instead Latinos are largely made up of immigrants (or are first or second generation Americans) who have attempted to reconcile their own political attitudes with one of the two U.S. parties. This has been very difficult for many Latinos (though not all, with Cubans being an important exception). Many Latinos are faced with a choice in whether to prioritize economic or social issues. Latinos tend to be Catholics who have conservative attitudes on social issues such as gay marriage, abortion, and birth control, consistent with the Republican platform. However, they are not only more likely to be of the middle and lower classes, but also value economic redistribution and welfare programs, which are instead consistent with the Democrats. Here again Democrats have been strategically proactive in mobilizing Latinos not only on economic issues but also on immigration. Studies have consistently found that most Latinos favor liberal immigration policies, and as such, immigration has become an effective point of mobilization.

 

 

Demographic change favors Democrats

 In the past few decades the Latino population has grown exponentially. In 1980 Latinos made up only 6.5 percent of the population, and in 2010 that number was over 16 percent. The growth between 2000 and 2010 alone was 43%, making the Latino vote increasingly important. Population projections predict that the United States will become “majority-minority” (meaning whites will be less than 50%) around year 2050. If the Democrats continue to serve as the party of the minority, this will have devastating effects for the Republicans. Republicans have not been as effective in taking a proactive mobilization strategy, and this flaw may cost them not only the 2012 election, but elections in years to come. Republicans overreliance on the aging white conservative block will turn them into a dying party, not because of poor values, agendas, or platforms, but because of poor political strategies.

 

Missed Opportunities

So does this all mean that Republicans will inevitably continue to lose support? Not at all; that is if they are willing to change their strategies. If the Republicans adopt a platform that resonates better with the minority community they could be hard to stop. Given that not only Latinos, but also African Americans tend to favor moderate to liberal economic policies and conservative social policies (contrary to many white independents for whom the converse is true), Republicans should be able to re-mobilize large sectors of the minority vote in their favor. The Republicans need to shift their focus away from the old white rich voting block (let’s face it, they will keep voting for them regardless) and create a more moderate economic plan and stand by their conservative social values. With this type of agenda, partnered with a prioritization of social over economic issues, and a strong mobilization effort they could easily have won the upcoming election—but that’s not what they have done. Instead the Republican campaign and its, formerly moderate, front runner Mitt Romney have focused on trickledown economics which favors only the upper classes of  U.S. society.

 

 

If Democratic Party ID is so strong-why is the election so close?

Simple, because it’s the white, rich, old people who vote. Voter turnout for minorities, less educated individuals, and poor people is notoriously low, even in presidential elections. This is why mobilization is so essential to winning an election. The Republicans maintain their conservative economic and social platform, rely on their voting block and hope, or work actively, to restrict, minority and lower classes’ vote. The Democratic Party has figured this out (again, they are seemingly the proactive, strategic party) and focus very heavily on their GOTV (Get Out The Vote) campaign. This is, again, a critical missed opportunity for the Republicans in failing to grab those socially conservative votes. To make things worse, it is very likely that they have lost the confidence of African American voters entirely, and that regardless of changes to their agenda that they will have a difficult time mobilizing this group; and if they’re not careful they will soon lose the Latinos as well.

My prediction of the 2012 presidential election is a clear reflection of the 2008 election; it will come down to voter turnout. The more people go vote, the higher the chance of Obama winning his second term.